Nostalgia: A desktop app for Flickr
The trend of desktop apps for Web services is just getting started. Example: Nostalgia.
While I was in the Vloggies booth at SXSW, I peered over Robert Scoble's shoulder as he was shooting a video with the guys from Thirteen23. The people at this design-and-coding company have made Nostalgia, a very cool application that acts as a front end to Flickr. I can't wait for Scoble's video to post, so here's my take. And yes, I'm a bad person for stealing Scoble's scoop--even though he said it was OK.
If you're a Mac user, stop reading now.
The Nostalgia player is a slick desktop client for the popular photo-sharing site Flickr. It requires Microsoft's .Net 3.0 framework (a free download for XP users, it's built into Vista). Though Flickr is a decent Web 2.0 app, Flickr plus Nostalgia is in a different league. The application supports the quirks of Flickr--tagging, sets, and so on--and it does it in a fluid interface not unlike Google's Picasa, although it's not nearly as full featured. Nostalgia is better, even, than Yahoo Photos (review), which I really like.
If you're a Flickr fan and you use a PC, it's worth trying out, if only to see the direction that Web 2.0 sites are heading in. Thirteen23 built the app as a demonstration of the shop's capabilities rather than as a product, so don't get too hooked. It's missing a lot of features (like editing and printing). If you want a more-developed desktop Flickr app, check out PowerSnap (review). It is Flash-based, and its animation is not as smooth as Nostalgia's, but it handles Flickr's tags a bit more gracefully and works with photos on your hard drive as well.
Thirteen23 has several other design projects and experiments on its site. The projects rely on .Net 3.0, which is both interesting and depressing. It's interesting to see what a new (or patched) version of Windows can do when hooked up with Web content, but it's depressing to think about online applications getting tied to a particular platform. Nonetheless, the site is worth checking out. What the team has done to beautify Web content is amazing.
We're going to see a lot of desktop extensions for Web services this year. I've heard this called the "Desktop 2.0" movement. The eventual release of Adobe's Apollo will kick off a whole bunch of these apps, but even as we wait for that, we have these apps from Thirteen23 to check out, as well as the upcoming Collanos offline app and Cerulean's Flash-based Trillian Astra. In addition, there are a few more clients I've heard about but not yet seen. I expect to see some of them at the upcoming Under the Radar: Office 2.0 conference.